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The Bookseller of Kabul

The Bookseller of Kabul
Author: Asne Seierstad
ISBN 13: 9780316159418
ISBN 10: 316159417
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: 2004-10-26
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
List Price: $16.00

With The Bookseller of Kabul, award-winning journalist Asne Seierstad has given readers a first-hand look at Afghani life as few outsiders have seen it. Invited to live with Sultan Khan, a bookseller in Kabul, and his family for months, this account of her experience allows the Khans to speak for themselves, giving us a genuinely gripping and moving portrait of a family, and of a country of great cultural riches and extreme contradictions.

For more than 20 years, Sultan Khan has defied the authorities—whether Communist or Taliban—to supply books to the people of Kabul. He has been arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned, and has watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. Yet he had persisted in his passion for books, shedding light in one of the world's darkest places.

This is the intimate portrait of a man of principle and of his family—two wives, five children, and many relatives sharing a small four-room house in this war ravaged city. But more than that, it is a rare look at contemporary life under Islam, where even after the Taliban's collapse, the women must submit to arranged marriages, polygamous husbands, and crippling limitations on their ability to travel, learn and communicate with others.

About the Author
Asne Seierstad is an award-winning journalist who has reported from such war-torn regions as Chechnya, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The New York Times Book Review

Seierstad is a sharp and often lyrical observer of Afghan domestic life. Even in Ingrid Christophersen's slightly stiff translation, ''The Bookseller of Kabul'' reads like a novel and is absorbing reportage.

....From a strictly literary perspective, ''The Bookseller of Kabul'' is an effective portrait of one rather unhappy Afghan family. It is certainly the most intimate description of an Afghan household ever produced by a Western journalist. — Richard McGill